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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012 Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: May 11, 2007
No: 07-14

Soldiers visit SSC to share their experiences

NATICK, Mass. -- On May 1, Sgt. 1st Class George R. Garcia and Sgt. 1st Class Mario Miramontez from the 25th Infantry Division visited the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (SSC) as part of a multi-state visit to various Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs) to share their first-hand combat experiences with equipment and to see what improvements are being made or can be made to assist the Warfighter in the field.

Im not a scientist or developer, Garcia said, just a Soldier with a whole lot of common sense. I might see an item that Im not going to use unless Im able to modify it for my purpose.

He continued on to say one of the ideas behind this visit is to get with the design people to have modifications done at the research and development level, rather than have to deal with problems after an item gets to the field. 

Garcia mentioned that they recently spoke at a meeting with about 300 scientists and developers of equipment in attendance. It gave us a chance to bring forth some issues that the developers dont hear about or know about, Garcia said. 

Garcia has been deployed six times and Miramontez had been deployed three.  We have seen it all, they said. Garcia mentioned that an item, such as a stealth shelter, which was good for Afghanistan, was not useful in Iraq. In Iraq, we are using existing buildings, he said, but having that shelter was an advantage in Afghanistan.

Equipment challenges were also presented.

The number one issue that keeps coming up is body armor, they said. The size, the weight, even how you add the pouches keeps presenting problems. Body armor that is smaller, lighter and not as bulky is the top request from Soldiers. Ive heard about the new chassis system (from the Future Force Warrior program) and think its a great idea, Garcia said.      

Power was mentioned as another problem. For some items you need two AA batteries. But youre not only going to bring two, youre going to bring at least four. And some items take different types of batteries. Now were ending up bringing an entire cache of batteries, they said.

Garcia and Miramontez got to discuss these topics and others in more detail with subject matter experts when they toured various labs around the SSC. Other subjects discussed included the Army Combat Uniform, eye protection, such as Soldier Integrated Tactical Eyewear, Soldier cognition, footwear, load carriage, DoD combat feeding, Joint Precision Airdrop System and U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine programs.

Other ideas Garcia and Miramontez mentioned included having a standardized breaching kit, which would include tools such as those fire departments have, a standardized first aid kit, and personal radios.

Im a gear guy, Garcia said. Ive seen stuff that comes out of Natick that is awesome. But it might need modifications, something very simple. Its better if that is done here.

This visit to SSC is part of a U.S. Pacific Command/U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command initiative to provide RDEC scientists and engineers with the opportunity to hear firsthand the successes and problems experienced by  Soldiers with products that are developed and fielded on their behalf. 

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.